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Crews deal with string of Santa Cruz River fires

Posted at 10:34 PM, May 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-29 20:53:23-04

Firefighters from the Northwest Fire District battled two separate brush fires simultaneously in the Santa Cruz river bed on Saturday night. 

NW Fire says they received 9-1-1 calls just before 8 p.m. of flames and smoke in the river near Silverbell and Panorama Road. 

The first crews arrived on scene and discovered a large fire in thick brush near the area. 

In total, three fire engines, four wildland engines and one water tender with more than 20 firefighters worked to contain this first brush fire. 

No homes were threatened during this brush fire. NW Fire says they continued to monitor the scene overnight to ensure that no hot spots existed to re-ignite the fire. 

The second brush fire happened at 9:45 p.m. in the Santa Cruz river bed near Avra Valley Road. This brush fire was seen from miles away and NW Fire received multiple 9-1-1 calls. 

NW Fire says this brush fire was in area with less fuels and it only spread to about the size of a football field. 

One fire engine and one water tended were able to contain the fire. Crews remained on scene for several hours checking hot spots. No structures were threatened during this second brush fire.

Firefighters from the Golder Ranch Fire District provided assistance to fight these two brush fires. GRFD helped to supply two of the wildland engines to extinguish these fires. Marana Police and the Pima County Sheriff's Department also were on scene controlling traffic. 

Capt. Brian Keeley of Northwest Fire says each brush fire on Saturday night each burned about six acres.

Both of the brush fires on Saturday night happened less than two weeks after a fire in the Santa Cruz near Cortaro Road burned an area about 300 feet wide and about a half-a-mile long. The cause of that fire was not determined.

"There was no lightning, there was no mechanical, there was no electrical things that could have caused the fire," Capt. Brian Keeley of Northwest Fire District explained. "So, we are comfortable at this point saying that they are human caused. The investigation is continuing, however, to determine a couple of things. One - whether they were intentional or accidental and two - if any and or all of them were connected."

NW Fire says that anyone who lives or travels in the area to be extra vigilant of their surroundings and to report any suspicious behavior to 9-1-1 immediately.